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Early ride on the Zamboni – Sunday, January 9th

Jan 9, 2011, 8:59 PM EDT

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It seems like we’re in the time of year in which teams play games with some pretty odd start times, so let’s take a look at some of the contests that finished a little earlier this Sunday.

Carolina 4, Atlanta 3 (OT)

All of a sudden, it’s looking like the Hurricanes might have a legitimate shot at a playoff spot … and that might come at the expense of the upstart Thrashers. At one point it seemed like Erik Cole scored a goal that made it 4-1, but it was disallowed. Atlanta tied it up to send it into overtime, but Cole ended up getting rewarded for his hard work by scoring the game-winner.

Seventh-ranked Atlanta has a five point lead over Carolina, but the Thrashers played in five more games so that lead is misleadingly small if the Hurricanes can put together some victories.

New Jersey 6, Tampa Bay 3

For only the second time this season, the Devils won a game in which they were trailing heading into the third period. It was 2-1 Lightning but the Devils produced a stunning five goal final frame to – at least briefly – break out of a considerable funk. Martin Brodeur is showing signs of life as he stopped all 19 shots doing relief work in Saturday’s 2-1 loss against Philly and made 33 stops in this one.

These are the kind of games the Lightning need to win if they hope to maintain their grasp on the top spot in the Southeast.

Dallas 4, Minnesota 0

Andrew Raycroft win a match between two of the league’s most efficient backups, earning a 26-save shutout as the Stars beat Jose Theodore and the Wild 4-0. Dallas has now won seven games on the road, showing that they can beat just about any team if they’re on – even when Kari Lehtonen gets the night off.

Jamie Benn scored two twice in this one, including a highlight reel tally that is a likely candidate for Sunday’s goal of the night.

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